Surge in far-right votes leaves no party with majority in Swedish parliament

World Today

There’s major political gridlock in Sweden. Support for the far-right has left the two, main political blocs without majorities in Parliament.

Both have vowed not to work with the far-right, Sweden Democrats, which are linked to Neo-Nazis. However, that could lead to a long period of indecision as the parties of the center-right and center-left try to form coalitions.

CGTN’s Guy Henderson filed this report from Stockholm.

With most of the votes counted, the center-left Social Democrats are so far just in front.

Within hours of the first exit polls though, the incumbent’s center-right opponents were already calling on the prime minister to stand aside and let them form a coalition government.

“The Swedish people have chosen a new parliament, the (center-right) Alliance is clearly bigger than the government. This government has run its course. It ought never have been and now it should resign,” said Ulf Kristersson, Leader of the Moderate Party.

Ulf Kristersson, leader of the Moderate Party in Sweden, addresses supporters at an election night party following general election results in Stockholm on September 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / Jonathan NACKSTRAND)

Stefan Lofven is refusing this, so there’s a deadlock. One Monday morning paper read “Chaos”. Another read “Voters Punish Lofven”. Exactly who might lead the next government is, at this stage, anyone’s guess.

Prime minister and party leader of the Social democrat party Stefan Lofven addresses supporters at an election night party following general election results in Stockholm on September 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / Jonas EKSTROMER / Sweden OUT)

One party buoyed by the percentages is the far-right Sweden Democrats. The party warns they’ll use their gains in parliament to block any government that continues to isolate them.

“We won’t participate in letting through a government which doesn’t give us influence – on the contrary – we will do what we can to take down any such government. So the reasonable thing is that if one wants to form a government, one ought to talk to us and try to agree with us,” said Jimmie Akesson, Leader of the Sweden Democrats.

Jimmie Akesson of the Sweden Democrats speaks at the election party at the Kristallen restaurant in central Stockholm on September 9, 2018. (AFP PHOTO / TT NEWS AGENCY / Anders WIKLUND / Sweden OUT)

So far, all other parties are refusing this, apparently preferring no government at all to one with far-right influence.

This situation is unprecedented in Swedish politics. Preliminary results are so close, it may come down to the votes of Swedes living abroad who’s ballots will be counted later this week. After this will begin very difficult coalition talks. A new government could potentially still be months away.